People of Roma

I’ve recently entered a photo competition sponsored by World Nomads, a travel insurance website that provides international coverage and safety services around the world. They’re partnered with The Lonely Planet, which is probably one of the biggest travel guide book publishers in the world. Basically, both involve travel so if you know me, you know I’m automatically interested.

I like World Nomads for a variety of reasons. The founder is a man who quit his job, sold everything he owned and started to travel the world. Although I’m not brave enough (yet) to take the plunge and even consider doing something like that, I truly admire what he believes travel stands for. For him, it’s a sense of adventure that acts as a catalyst for our actions; it’s what drives us. Anyone who’s traveled, whether it be across an ocean, or across the street to a new neighborhood that they’ve never ventured into, they can agree with me that with travel, you learn about yourself, your limits, and you challenge them and your perceptions of the world. Travel connects you to the world and gets you involved and that’s exactly what World Nomads strives to do by giving back.

World Nomads organizes annual scholarship opportunities that involve the multimedia side of travel. My lovely roommate and friend Bea first applied for the film scholarship, but she also let me know about photography scholarship. The scholarship prize? Get this– an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan AND the chance to be mentored by a professional travel photographer. TRAVEL AND PHOTOS. GAINING MORE SKILLS ABOUT WHAT I LOVE TO DO. POTENTIALLY LEARNING HOW TO MAKE IT LUCRATIVE (hey, I’m a soon to be college-grad with looming debt, it’s a thought that often runs through my mind). WHAT MORE COULD I WANT IN MY LIFE?!

*composes self.*

Anyway, the rules were to craft a photo story which could be composed of up to five photos. The photos had to tell a story about a place that I had visited.To them, place could have been anywhere. It could have even been my own Rogers Park/Edgewater community or even the Loyola campus, but my heart knew automatically which place I’d try to describe in five photos.

There’s something stupidly romantic about Rome. No, I don’t mean the romantic in the “I want to fall in love with some Paolo and ride on the back of his vespa,” although that is a part of it, but more so in the sense that it is imaginative, yet also impractical. Rome is chaotic, loud, sometimes dirty and smelly, overcrowded with tourists, etc., and yet, I find poetry in that. I idealize the Eternal City regardless of its flaws. Truly loving Rome is a passionate affair and the people in it are what are part of that. I could love and hate them, but they breathe life into the city and so that is why I chose the People of Roma as the story of my place.

Enjoy my short photo essay. Check out my entry and some of the others if you get the chance; you cannot even imagine the variety of stories that can be and are told through this contest.

People of Roma


Rome is a city that draws millions of tourists from all over the world to walk among the skeletons of history.dsc_0717It is a city one can lose themselves in, despite the throngs in the crowded streets.dsc_0735It is a city where one can spot more couples than cuppolas, despite its hundreds of churches and basilicas._dsc0325

It is a city where one can find magic in the torn pieces of paper that make up the confetti of Carnevale._dsc0106Where the Roman sprezzatura, or a certain carelessness, isn’t just a word; it’s a local lifestyle present in all of the piazzas.

And as always, check out more of my photos on my Instagram and follow my hashtag, #photowysocki to see my latest photographic endeavors!

P.S. The contest results are announced January 12th, so keep your fingers crossed and I’ll keep you updated. Personally (and an attempt to be realistic), I want to try and make the short list, but hey, I’m going to dream big and hope that I’ll be on that flight to Tokyo in the near future 😉



A Year in Review; 2016 Photo Faves

2016 for me started out in an apartment in Krakow, Poland, with good food, new friends, and a game of Cards Against Humanity. It was full of promise, hopes and dreams. Doesn’t every new year? After some reflection, I always find it funny that it is New Year’s when we find that something new can be possible. Time is a construct, so why do we only wait until December 31st and January 1st to realize that we can make changes in our lives and see them differently?

A lot of friends in my inner circles have decided that 2016 was a … less-than-stellar year. It was a trying one, I won’t deny that. Personally, I’ve dealt with a lot and I know it was a roller coaster of a year for all, but I’ve experienced a lot of positive things as well. I’ve traveled more of Europe, fell in love with multiple cities, hiked Cinque Terre (still can’t believe I did that) finished up my internship and my year in Rome (where I sobbed like a baby afterwards). I got to show my best friend one of the biggest parts of who I am and where my family comes from- Augustow, Poland, a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid sitting in my grandma’s garden. I came back to my sweet home, Chicago. I pushed myself to go back onstage and sing notes that I thought I could only hit if I was being chased by an ax-wielding crazy (seriously, myself, an alto through and through, was hitting high Fs and Gs, which to me is a miracle). I worked two jobs on top of an already loaded academic semester and did well in all of my courses. I’ve lost friendships, but have gained a better understanding of what it means to be a true friend and a person for others, thanks to the support system made up of my family, friends and colleagues.

In the spirit of reflections and wrap-ups, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite photos from 2016! It was actually very difficult to narrow them down, because as some of you know, I’m quite the sentimental human, so I allowed myself to pick twenty-five. Whether it be the composition of the photo, the subject, or the stories behind them, presented in chronological order, here are my favorite photos from the thousands I took this year.

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_dsc0427I plan on ending 2016 in my own apartment, in Chicago, with some close friends and a lot of good food. There may or may not be sparklers, so I’m already gearing up for a photo shoot if that is the case. I’ve grown a lot, both emotionally and professionally throughout this year, although my height is still the same… 2016 may have humbled the world, but if anything, it’s motivated me. Forever the stubborn, ambitious little Polish babushka in me, I suppose 😉


MonochRomatic; la citta eterna senza colori

I’m missing la mia citta eterna, so I figured I’d share with you my favorite black & white photos of an amazing city. I chose to make them monochromatic for a variety of reasons. Not only do I love a good pun (because I’m a nerdy human being) but colors in these photos aren’t necessary. I’m also a sucker for high contrast and dark shadows. And these all conveniently happen to be some of the photos I’ve considered for a contest, but didn’t choose in the end…, but that’s another post in the making.

Rome is a vibrant city. The maroon and orange colors of A.S. Roma fans, the temperate haze of the sun, the painted piazzas with old yellow apartment buildings, the glowing candles in its hundreds of basilicas and chapels and the sauce on its perfect pizzas; it’s a naturally colorful mosaic of warm tones. In a strange sense, I feel that taking that away from these photos ironically adds something else to them.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. You tell me.

Regardless- enjoy!


_dsc0579 img_0603 _dsc0252dsc_0662_dsc0678 _dsc0700 _dsc0296_dsc0373 _dsc0079 _dsc0486 _dsc0910 _dsc0302 _dsc0652Check out more of my photos on my Instagram and follow my hashtag, #photowysocki to see my latest photographic endeavors!  🙂